I read books of a wide variety, and I often like to read books especially on things I don't know much about, or something that I am not connected to directly. I enjoy books on horse racing, or running, or Science, with the same zeal I feel for legal thrillers. I strongly believe that reading widely does wonders to overall perspective. That said, it is true that we always enjoy a book in our niche, be it fiction or non-fiction, as we can enjoy the book in it's entirety with all the inside jokes. Basically, these are ones that strike a familiar chord in us. There are so many wonderful books in this category. But, here are some of my favourites, books that I really enjoyed reading, that incorporate law/legal aspects to it (the list has both fiction and non-fiction).
You got to love Perry and his unbelievably entertaining courtroom drama, where he uses his well-known, skillful courtroom gimmicks to wrap up a case successfully. The characters are charming, and the stories are small in length. Though the plots are usually made of a very simple legal concept, Gardner's narrative is so compelling that it is unputdownable. You will grow to love the characters and the narrative style. If you are someone who already loves Perry Mason, look for that one book you haven't laid your hands on yet! Get reading!
I was presented this book by a relative when I was going to join law school. I read the book before I joined, and it made absolute sense to me as a person who did not really know anything about the Indian law at that time, and I was fascinated. After two semesters of studying Constitutional Law, I picked up this book again and read through the cases, which by now I had a strong familiarity to, and I truly appreciated the beauty of the book for the purpose it serves. I understood what Zia Mody, in the book, meant by saying that the idea of writing a book of this nature was "to seek to bridge the gap between life and law".
The book is all about respecting people because they are people and not on the basis of colour. It talks about overcoming the stereotypes and fighting the right battle. I think it is an important perspective that anyone needs to have, especially lawyers. We, as a legal community, need to fight the right battles, and also fight battles the right way. This is one of my all-time favourite novels. I absolutely love it.
Leila Seth, in her autobiography On Balance: An Autobiography, starts with the story of how she took up legal studies because of the fact that it could be conveniently combined with taking care of her son and husband. Throughout, as she describes the events that transpire through her relationship with the law and the legal community, the spirit of the book focuses on taking India forward in its judicial journey. It is a beautiful read!
5. One L
Note to law students: Pick up this amazing book of experience by a "1L" in the first year of HLS (Harvard Law School), and every line would be something that you would relate to at a very personal level. There wasn't a single dull moment as I went on a surprisingly funny and relatable ride of reliving through the anguish, nervousness, excitement and the free-falling fear of a first year at law school. It is a wonderful, honest book, and Turow has absolutely and aptly captured the experiences of every law student.
It is a great book, and the best part is the format in which it takes you through the outlines of advocacy. The book recommends itself to any lawyer with 0-5 years of experience, and that’s why it’s a great book for law students-irrespective of whether you are considering litigation as a career or not. I think it’s one that stimulates a certain kind of thinking in the readers familiar with the law.
7. Bleak House (this is the best)
Bleak House is an absolute pleasure to read. With Dickens, it is never just about the story, but the nuances of his narrative plays a very important role. Bleak house is a must read for all, and most definitely all law students. And, here’s a good suggestion from a fellow-reader: do some homework on equity before you get to Bleak House, I’m sure the fun will be doubled!
Do you have a personal favourite? Add to the list in the comments!